Campbell Co. veterans finally getting long awaited VA clinic
More than five years have passed since veterans in Campbell County were told a VA clinic would be built there, and now it's finally happening.
"It was a clerical issue of Campbell County, Ky. versus Campbell County, Tenn. on the solicitation on the website to bid for this clinic," said Director Kevin Walden of Campbell County Veterans Affairs.
LAFOLLETTE (WATE) - More than five years have passed since veterans in Campbell County were told a VA clinic would be built there, and now it's finally happening.
Now many are asking what took so long?
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced in 2008 they would be bringing a VA outpatient clinic to Campbell County.
However, in 2013, there was still no clinic.
After years of being overlooked, officials at the Campbell County Veterans Affairs office started asking questions.
"This was promised to Campbell County veterans and we need to make sure those promises are kept," said Director Kevin Walden of Campbell County Veterans Affairs.
Walden says they were told by the Department of Veterans Affairs that a processing error had been made.
"It was a clerical issue of Campbell County, Ky. versus Campbell County, Tenn. on the solicitation on the website to bid for this clinic," said Walden.
Walden says since no bids were made, no clinic was built, which he says it detrimental to the health of East Tennessee veterans.
"It prohibits them from getting the care they were promised by the military," said Walden.
With the delay finally identified, the VA quickly got the long-ago-promised clinic rolling.
"They reevaluated and reassessed and now it's coming," said Walden.
The outpatient clinic is now almost complete. It's being built on the third floor of the Community Health of East Tennessee building in LaFollette.
"We'll be putting up walls and plumbing and doors and rooms," said Walden as he gave 6 News a tour of the facility.
Once the clinic opens its doors, the 1,500 veterans of Campbell County who are registered with VA healthcare will be able to receive their primary care a lot closer to home.
Right now, they have to drive to Knoxville or Johnson City.
"That's wonderful. It'll save me a lot of time. They've been talking about it a long time and I'm very glad that they're going to bring it here for the veterans," said Clyde Byrge, a veteran and Campbell County resident.
The clinic could be open in as little as four months. The target completion date is January or February 2014.
Once it's open, veterans from all across East Tennessee are welcomed to use the clinic for their routine health care.
For more information on how to register for VA health care, visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website, or call Campbell County Veterans Affairs at (423) 562-3531.